Belmont partners with Williamson County Office of Economic Development for Centennial High competition
Belmont University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, in partnership with the Williamson County Office of Economic Development, held a business plan competition for 74 high school honors economics students at Centennial High School today. Under the direction of faculty and staff from Belmont, students were given three hours to research and develop an idea for a new company. Working in teams, the students pitched a variety of ideas for companies, from a pill that serves as an alarm clock to a courier service for the elderly.
Dr. Jeff Cornwall, director of Belmont’s Center for Entrepreneurship, said, “It renews my spirits to see how enthusiastic and entrepreneurial the young people are these days. I was amazed by the quality of their presentations after just one short day of research and preparation.”
Centennial High School Principal Dr. Terry Shrader added, “Centennial High School is honored to partner with Belmont University and the Williamson County Office of Economic Development to bring this engaging and relevant learning experience to our Honors Economics students. We, at Centennial, are very lucky to have such willing partners in our students’ learning.”
The students were judged by a panel of local elected officials: Franklin Mayor John Schroer and Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson, Franklin City Administrator Eric Stuckey, Williamson County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Executive Director Mark Shore, Williamson County Association of Realtors Executive Vice President Theresa Wilson, Williamson County-Franklin Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Nancy Conway, Greater Cool Springs Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sue White, Brentwood Cool Springs Chamber of Commerce Interim President/Director Cindi Parmenter, and representatives from Williamson County-based companies, including Nissan North America, Tractor Supply Company, Healthways, BioMimetic Therapeutics, Swiftwick, and Now Leasing. Students were judged on the research behind the idea, the uniqueness of the idea, the feasibility of the idea and the clarity of the mission of the proposed company.
The winning idea, as determined by a panel of 3 judges, was for a company called “The Chef’s Hat.” The mission of the company is to provide informational and enjoyable cooking programs to kids and teens in order to promote a healthy lifestyle with affordable life changes. The company proposed to provide services such as classes on gluten free diets, organic food, cooking safety for young children, college preparation and mom and me. The proposed venture planned to capitalize on cost-cutting measures families are taking during the current recession. The company proposed to cut family budgets through replacing meals outside of the home with healthy, home-cooked meals, saving a family of four $35 dollars each time they cook instead of eating out.
“The number one priority of Williamson County is education and the number one area of focus of our new five year economic development strategy is promoting education,” said Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson. “A strong education system leads to a vibrant entrepreneurial network of young talent with new ideas. With 21 percent of our workforce classified as entrepreneurs, initiatives like the business plan competition are so important to continue to nurture a culture of entrepreneurship in Williamson County.”